27th July 2007 - 84% of shoppers would buy more British food if it was available, but majority (57%) still believe supermarkets do not do enough to support small British food producers.
The second annual Food Miles survey, an independent survey by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), shows that buyers of fruit and veg are more switched on than last year when it comes to the environmental impact of buying imported foods.
In just 12 months awareness of food miles is up from 36% in 2006 to 59% in 2007 and among the over 50s, awareness leaps to 72%. 50% of shoppers now regularly buy British grown fruit and veg (up from 38% 2006).
The majority of shoppers (57%) still believe that supermarkets do not do enough to support small British food producers, very similar to levels shown last year (58%).
84% of shoppers say they would buy more British food if it was available, while nearly half (46%) would be prepared to pay more for it (up from 35% 2006). Around a quarter of shoppers (26%) believe the main reason there is not more British-produced food in the shops is that British food costs too much – this is at the same level as last year.
Steve Cooke marketing director, BMRB said “While there has been a substantial increase in the awareness of food miles and shoppers are keen to buy more locally produced food, the perception that supermarkets need to do more to promote British-grown produce has not shifted since last year.”
The over 50s seem to be more environmentally savvy than their younger counterparts, with a greater understanding of seasonality and propensity to “buy British”. 55% of 25-34s are aware of the concept of food miles compared with 72% of over 50s. 49% of 25-34s regularly or always buy food grown in Britain, compared with 66% among the over 50s.
97% of all adults buy fresh fruit and veg, and 91% of these shoppers do so least once a week. The main outlet is the supermarkets – 89% of all shoppers buy their fruit and veg there (down from 94% last year). Farmers markets attract 13% of shoppers, as they did last year.
Around half of shoppers (51%) say they are unconcerned about which country their fruit and veg has come from, down from 61% last year. Only 10% consider themselves “very concerned” and 38% “fairly concerned”. Concern is markedly higher among over 50s (58% are very or fairly concerned) compared with 25-34 year olds (48%) and 16-24s (39%).
Environmental awareness has shown a large increase when it comes to food shopping. 59% of shoppers are now aware of the concept of food miles (compared with just 36% last year) – this rises to 72% among over 50s.
When presented with a choice of options – 61% thought the UK should import less food so the environment is damaged less, even if this means there is less variety in the shops and food costs more (up from 52% last year) .
But nearly a quarter (23%) still take the less environmentally friendly view that the UK should maintain or increase imports of food to maintain variety in the shops and keep costs as low as possible, even if this is more damaging to the environment.
50% of shoppers say they now regularly buy British grown fruit and veg (up from 38% last year). Again, the over 50s are much more likely to do so (66%) than 25-34 year olds (49%).
Shoppers’ awareness of the country of origin of their fruit and veg has also increased – only 13% don’t know if the food they buy is grown in Britain or not compared with nearly a quarter (24%) last year. Among 16-24 year olds this has dropped from 43% in 2006 to just 22%.
84% of shoppers say they would buy more British grown food if it was available, and 46% would be prepared to pay more for British grown fruit and veg that is in season.
57% of shoppers believe the main reason there is not more British-produced food in the shops is that the big supermarkets do not do enough to support small British food producers. This figure rises to more than two-thirds of over 50s (70%). These figures show little or no improvement from 2006 (58% and 68% respectively).
Around a quarter of shoppers (26%) believe the main reason there is not more British-produced food in the shops is that British food costs too much – this is also at the same level as last year.
Shireen Crowe, Press Office, Tel: 020 7566 7020
Steve Cooke, BMRB, Tel: 020 8433 4381